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A nourishing herbal fertility infusion can help you beat infertility or boost your chances of conceiving by preparing your womb and body for pregnancy. Whether you are trying to conceive naturally or are using reproductive technologies such as IUI, IVF, or even donor eggs, this natural nourishing mix of the fertility herbs nettles, red raspberry, and oat straw will boost your fertility and increase your chances of a successful pregnancy.
After two years of repeated early miscarriages, and being told I had high FSH, endometriosis, and diminished ovarian reserve, I was given only one shot of trying IVF before the doctors would say my only option was donor eggs. I did everything I possibly could to prepare, including drinking a glass of this nourishing infusion every day. I got pregnant naturally in under three months and never wound up trying that one shot of IVF!
These herbs- red raspberry, nettles, and oatstraw – are incredibly gentle and nourishing herbs. That is why I recommend this infusion for EVERYONE trying to get pregnant, regardless of their “infertility” diagnoses, or their method of conception. There is no reason why you shouldn’t continue this while trying IUI or IVF, or preparing for a donor egg cycle, as they are such gentle and nourishing herbs Unfortunately, doctors often get nervous when you say “herbal remedy” because there are so many herbs out there that are super powerful and can affect your hormone balance. So, your doctor may advise you to stop taking the infusion while you cycle. I personally wouldn’t take anything related to hormonal balance- like red clover leaf- while cycling, but these three herbs I’ve identified are fundamentally nourishing and safe while trying to conceive in any manner. However, if you are on blood thinners (beyond baby aspirin) for your cycle, then you might consider dropping the nettles from this infusion.
You can drink this infusion throughout your cycle, and some people drink it throughout their pregnancy. Out of an overabundance of caution, people (like me) who are terribly afraid of early miscarriage will not drink nettles or red raspberry during the first trimester, even though midwives would say it is fine. This infusion is recommended, however, in the third trimester, to prepare the body for birth.
This infusion should taste nourishing and yummy. When you drink it, you should enjoy it and feel like it is providing your body with the nourishment you need. If you don’t like it, it doesn’t taste good, or it just doesn’t feel like the right herbal combination for you, then maybe it isn’t! Do some research into medicinal herbs for fertility and consider if another herb (or a combination of other herbs) is right for you.
I recommend the nourishing infusion of nettles, red raspberry, and oat straw, because they are so gentle and so nourishing that they will help prepare the womb and body for anyone trying to get pregnant. Before I get into the details of the recipe, I want to spend a little time talking about each herb and why it is helpful in preparing for pregnancy!
Nettles are one of the most nourishing herbs. According to Susan Weed, the herbal healing guru, a one quart infusion of nettles contains more than 1000 milligrams of calcium, 15000 IU of vitamin A, 760 milligrams of vitamin K, and plenty of most B vitamins. Its reputation is as the herb with the most chlorophyll – the substance thought to be what makes “green” superfoods like wheatgrass, so helpful to getting pregnant. Nettles provides a food source of folate (food-based folic acid) (crucial for a healthy pregnancy) and tones the adrenal system which then provides additional energy for the body to focus on making a baby.
Drinking a nettles infusion is basically like having two servings of leafy greens- only better. Your body needs optimal nourishment in order to have the energy to grow healthy eggs, develop a perfect uterine lining, and sustain a pregnancy. Also, if you have eliminated dairy, as I suggest may be necessary for some women trying to conceive, you need to ensure you are getting enough calcium. Nettles is the right herb for the job. For a single nettles infusion, take 1 cup of dried nettles and put into a quart mason jar. Fill the jar with boiling water, cover, and steep overnight or for at least 4 hours. Strain, and drink warm, hot, cold, whatever your preference. I like nettles straight up- some add a little honey. Drink 1 to 3 cups a day. Nettles is probably safe throughout pregnancy, however, out of an overabundance of caution I chose not to use it after I confirmed my pregnancy with a blood test. I did use it in my third trimester to prepare for birth.
Warning! A strong nettles infusion can lower your blood pressure, lower your blood sugar and thin your blood. For most women trying to get pregnant this is helpful. But, if you struggle with one of these conditions already or are medicated for one of them, avoid a simple nettles infusion, and don’t overdo the suggested amounts in the three-herb infusion.
Red Raspberry Leaf
Red Raspberry Leaf is THE uterine tonic in the herbal world. Anyone trying to conceive, whether they are just starting or have been struggling with infertility, whether they are trying to get pregnant naturally, or using IUI, IVF, or preparing for a donor egg transfer, should be using Red Raspberry leaf. Red Raspberry leaf is full of vitamin C, vitamin E, calcium, iron, vitamin A, vitamin B, and many minerals. It promotes healthy menstruation (including managing excessive menstrual bleeding), improves egg quality through nutrition, assists in the healing of the uterus after surgery, and may lengthen a short luteal phase. It is most well known for toning the uterus however, and for this reason, it is thought that using it in preparation for pregnancy can even prevent some kinds of miscarriage (especially those associated with uterine lining/implantation issues). Just like nettles, if you want, you can take this as a simple single infusion, using the directions above. While Red Raspberry is probably safe throughout pregnancy, and is recommended by midwives as a remedy for morning sickness, out of an overabundance of caution I chose not to use it after I confirmed my pregnancy with a blood test. I did use it in my third trimester to prepare for birth.
Oatstraw is the super gentle, nourishing grasses of the oat plant. Both oats (the grain) and the oat grasses are incredibly nourishing, and soothing to the system. Oatstraw promotes a strong and calm nervous system, and healthy endocrine system- something that is absolutely crucial when trying to conceive. Susan Weed in her book “Healing Wise” writes, “ Avena [oatstraw] eases spasms and inflammation throughout your being, allowing engorged cells to relax, release fluid, and cool off.” This sounds to me like exactly what we are trying to do while attempting to conceive! Reduce inflammation (which can cause ovulation and implantation problems) and calm the body so that it can receive that little embryo and nourish it! Oatstraw is high in vitamin C vitamin A, calcium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, the vitamin B complex (including folate), vitamins E, G, and K, and fiber. Finally, oatstraw helps to stabilize your blood sugar- something that we all know is crucial in a fertility friendly diet. Oatstraw is absolutely safe throughout pregnancy- no worries there. If you have Celiacs and need to strictly avoid all gluten, consider purchasing a gluten-free oatstraw like this one from Oregon’s Wild Harvest.
I do want to mention one other herb that is very helpful for some women struggling with “infertility” but that I did not personally use when trying to conceive- Red Clover.
Red Clover is a fertility herb with very high vitamin and mineral content. This herb helps balance hormones, and potentially, helps unblock fallopian tubes. It is often used to help regulate an irregular menstrual cycle. If you have blocked fallopian tubes, an irregular cycle, irregular ovulation, or unexplained infertility, consider substituting red clover in for the oatstraw in the above recipe. Because I didn’t have those conditions, and because red clover is thought to have an estrogenic effect on the body (which might be bad for endometriosis, which I have), I did not use red clover. The herbalists over at Natural Fertility Info seem to dismiss my concerns however, and tout Red Clover as a wonder herb. It just might be- if you read about it and it sounds right to you, try it. If it tastes good and makes you feel good, use it! Again, out of an overabundance of caution due to my history of endometriosis, I avoid it.
Finding the herbs!
For sourcing herbs, if I have to make a bulk order, I order from Mountain Rose Herbs. Unfortunately, they charge for shipping, but they are a well-respected organic herb supplier. Luckily, Amazon has plenty of “prime” free shipping options so you can get your herbs quickly. I’ve ordered both Starwest and Frontier from Amazon when I want to receive my order within a day or two. I have never had problems with quality from either.
Of course, wild harvesting them yourself is the best :-). Unfortunately, this suburban girl ain’t got time or access for that.
How to Make an Herbal Fertility Infusion
In the kitchen, I am all about efficiency. Since this is a regular part of my nourishing fertility diet, I want to make this infusion quickly. Also, even though it might be slightly better for me, I don’t want to have to make a new infusion every night. So although you can use a 1 qt mason jar with ⅓ cup each of Nettles, Red Raspberry, and Oatstraw, I prefer to use a larger 2 qt mason jar. This produces six cups of the infusion, and I drink two cups every day for three days. That way I only have to do this every three days instead of every day or every other day!
First, measure out ⅔ cup each of Nettles, Red Rasberry, and Oatstraw.
Place the dried herbs into a 2 qt mason jar. It should measure up to about the 2 cup mark, or just beyond. I tend to be overly generous.
Boil 2 qts of water.
A note on boiling water: If you don’t use an electric kettle to boil water you should probably get one! Ours boils 2 qts of water in under five minutes. If I’m only boiling a cup of water it takes under a minute. Seriously, these things are amazing! BUT, you have to get a non-plastic kettle, otherwise you risk phthalates leaching into your water. Phthalates are toxic endocrine-disrupting chemicals that wreak havoc on your fertility. We scoured the internet to find a kettle that has absolutely no plastic touching the water, and the inside of the lid is stainless as well. It isn’t the prettiest thing (there were prettier ones that were more expensive), but it is made in the U.S. (Wisconsin!), and stays cool on the outside so you don’t have to worry about burnt fingers.
Pour your safe, phthalate-free, boiling water over the herbs and fill up your mason jar. I usually do a circular motion to try to get all the herbs under the boiling water, but it doesn’t really matter.
Place the lid on the mason jar and steep overnight or for at least four hours. The infusion will be a nice dark color when ready.
Strain the infusion using a fine wire-mesh strainer. I kind of press the liquid out of the herbs with a wooden spoon, but it’s not really necessary. I usually rinse the mason jar, and put the strained liquid right back into it.
Enjoy, warm, cold, hot, anyway that tastes best to you! I prefer it a little chilled.
Its that easy!
If you compost, the leftover herbs are AMAZING activators. Nettles have a lot of nitrogen, so we never have to buy anything else to help our compost decompose!
- ⅔ cup organic dried Nettles leaf
- ⅔ cup organic dried Red Raspberry leaf
- ⅔ cup organic Oatstraw (green tops)
- 2 qts boiling water
- Add nettles, red raspberry leaf, and oatstraw to a 2 qt mason jar.
- Add 2 qt boiling water to jar.
- Steep overnight or for at least 4 hours.
- Strain liquid and discard herbs (they make great compost!).
- Enjoy 2 cups each day!
Are you ready to start your daily herbal fertility infusion? Have you already been doing this? Do you love the taste? Leave a note here to commit to your daily infusion!